Trade Unionist beaten in Haiti

ICFTU Online..., 11 July 2002

Brussels, 11 July, 2002 (ICFTU online): The ICFTU today addressed a letter to Haitian President, Jean Bertrand Aristide, harshly criticising the policy of repression against trade unionists pursued by his government. The letter follows the severe beating in late June of Pepe Jean-Getro, General Secretary of a Haitian teachers union (Groupe d’Initiative des Enseignants des LycĂ©es) and member of the Haitian Trade Union Coordination Group (CSH). It also comes in the wake of a 4 June ICFTU report which criticised Haiti for flagrant abuse of all ILO core labour standards.

In this latest incident, Jean-Getro was violently assailed by security guards of a local banking cooperative who accused him of being a trade union activist aiming to destabilise the government by leading strikes. Having beaten and knocked him to the floor, the guards placed a gun by his side before calling the police to accuse him of attempted murder.

Jean-Getro was eventually released from prison two days later when the crude attempted set-up came to light. Yet these two days were sufficiently long for him to be beaten and tortured so severely that he was forced to spend the next ten days in hospital recovering from internal lesions and a shattered ear-drum.

The Haitian government has done nothing to bring the culprits to justice.